A Leader’s Guide to “Always-On” Transformation

A Leader’s Guide to “Always-On” Transformation

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A Leader’s Guide to “Always-On” Transformation

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    HR As a Strategic Transformation Partner

    All of the above imperatives have enormous implications for a company’s people practices and HR policies. As such, HR must play a larger role in this always-on transformation era. Ultimately, HR needs to participate actively in senior leadership discussions, help develop the company’s strategy and transformation agenda, and support the alignment of specific functions with the company’s priorities. To embrace this role, HR needs to evolve beyond its traditional supporting function to become a true strategic transformation partner. (See Exhibit 3.) And, equally important, the company’s senior leadership needs to support HR’s expanded role.


    Specifically, HR must understand the requirements of the transformation and how they impact the company’s employee-related processes and HR disciplines. It must work with company leaders to understand how employees and the organization will enable the company’s strategy. It must anticipate the implications of every change initiative on employees and the organization. It must know whether the company has the capability and the capacity to meet its strategic goals. All the while, HR must keep pace with the organization and operate with agility as transformations unfold.

    As Exhibit 3 shows, HR’s expanded role requires a new set of capabilities. For example, frequent product and strategy shifts will call for regular upgrades to the organization structure. HR should work with line-of-business leaders to decide how the organization needs to adapt and then orchestrate the process—with the expectation that the organization design will soon need to be upgraded again. Similarly, in a more volatile environment, strategic workforce planning becomes more important—and more difficult. HR must take the lead in assessing and anticipating emerging skills gaps and in developing strategies to meet future needs for talent. (See “Transforming Technology Companies: Putting People First,” BCG article, November 2014.)